Many teachers who are about to embark upon a teacher training program wonder the same question...Is teacher training hard?
The answer to that varies for every person, but teacher training is definitely designed to be challenging. Like their future students, teachers must master the curriculum and learn a special skill set in order to work with a variety of students who have different learning styles and abilities.
Your teacher training journey will be filled with ups and downs, but the path will also be exciting and challenging. How you overcome those challenges will depend on several factors, from the educator preparation program you choose to your organization skills and the relationships you build.
Here are 6 tips to survive the training required to become a teacher, including some that will help you as you choose the best program for your training and others to get you through the training curriculum.
Before You Choose An Educator Preparation Program
The educator preparation program you choose can have a significant impact on your teacher training experience. Certain features of a program can allow for greater flexibility or offer a greater amount of guidance, making your experience a little easier or more accommodating.
Here are some tips to take into consideration prior to choosing a program that will help you survive training once you are enrolled.
1. Choose A Program That Fits Your Schedule
If you work, are a parent or caregiver, or are a member of the military transitioning into a new career, time is likely a commodity. You also may consider yourself a “morning person” or “night person,” preferring to do your coursework or study during a certain time of the day.
Choosing a program, typically offered through an online training platform, often provides more flexibility and allows you to complete your coursework around your schedule provides a great benefit and may make the training period go a little smoother.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you can do your instruction after the kids go to bed or while they’re in school. If you have a day job, you can keep working until you complete your certification program. Even if you’re retired but spend part of your time doing something else fulfilling, having a flexible training schedule makes the whole process more manageable.
2. Look For Both Remote And In-Person Training
While the flexibility of online training is evident, having an in-person component to your training can go a long way in helping you navigate the curriculum.
There are some alternative teacher certification programs that offer the best of both worlds...a combination of online and in-person training. You still enjoy the flexibility of selecting when you complete your coursework, but you also have the opportunity to take advantage of the many benefits that in-person training offers to help you survive this challenging time.
Better availability of instructors to answer your questions promptly
The development of personal and professional connections
Networking and teamwork opportunities
Hands-on learning can also provide a different perspective on the curriculum you are learning, ensuring you’re receiving a well-rounded education.
3. Continuous Support Is A Must
Feeling that you are supported in your journey is important from the moment you enter a teacher training program until even after you have completed the program and are teaching full-time.
Going through the process to become a teacher can be frustrating at times. To ensure you survive training, look for a certification program that offers continuous support.
How can you do this? Although providing you with a trainer adviser is mandated in Texas, look for a program that is proud of its trainer advisers … and shows it by promoting them and their credential on the programs website.
Double check that in-field advisers are accessible to you throughout the school year as well. Ones who make periodic classroom visits once you are teaching can provide valuable feedback that will help you grow as an educator.
Don’t be afraid to check out reviews of a program as well to get an idea of how interns who have been through the program have fared.
Perhaps one of the most important ways to determine whether you’ll receive continuous support is if the program aggressively pursues you, whether or not you’re a good fit for the program or the program is a good fit for you. A program that has your best interest in mind will be a program that will offer continuous support and not look at you as just a number.
During Your Educator Preparation Program
Once you are enrolled in an educator preparation program, here are a few tips to help you survive the challenges the lie ahead.
4. Organization Is Key
Over the course of your teacher training, you will be tasked with completing 300 hours of training, 30 of which must be dedicated to observation of a certified teacher in a classroom environment. You will also have to pass all the appropriate exams, which includes the PPR, or Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities.
Staying organized of both your individual timeline and your coursework is key to surviving your training program. Whether it’s by using a planner, regularly meeting with your training adviser or some other personalized organization system, establishing a routine and staying organized will help keep you from falling behind.
5. Build Relationships
Like we outlined above, some programs offer a better opportunity for building relationships than others. However, you actually have to take advantage of these opportunities in order to make the most of this benefit.
Building good relationships with other interns, your instructors and any other teaching professionals you come in contact with will build a sense of unity and create opportunities to seek advice and input.
6. Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
You’re going to feel like you’re being thrown into the deep end at times. That’s OK. The sooner you get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, the faster you’ll be able to master many of the challenges that face teachers today.
Don’t be afraid to try ideas out. Even though teaching is based on pedagogical research, there is no one way that works for every classroom. To figure out the teaching methods that work for you, you’re probably going to make some mistakes. That’s OK as well. After all, NOW is the time to make mistakes AND learn from them.
In the end, remember why you want to become a teacher. Embrace those reasons, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, and enjoy the ride.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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